After working together on the Netflix docuseries “The Keepers,” editors Kate Amend, Rejh Cabrera and Mark Harrison established a creative shorthand that came in handy when collaborating again on another docuseries: Apple TV Plus’ “Visible: Out on Television.”
“We had constant conversations as a team to make sure whatever we were working on tied in with the bigger themes,” Harrison explains.
The five-part series traces LGBTQ representation on television over the past 80 years. Rachel Maddow, Lena Waithe, Raven Symone, Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper and Billy Porter are just a few of the celebrities who share their personal stories and experiences in the series.
Amend explains that most of the interviews were already done by the time they came on board. “They were so powerful because people were so honest,” Amend says, crediting director Ryan White. “You get this glimpse into a person’s very personal life story because Ryan creates this space for the interviewees to reveal themselves.”
Aside from the powerful interviews that are woven through the series, TV clips and highlights reflect the evolution of representation.
Harrison says creating the balance between the interviews and the TV clips was tricky. “We didn’t want to give you supercuts and not give you everything,” he says. “We wanted to set the tone of making sure we had a lot of creative conversations, and to make sure it was a fair and balanced approach to a subject that was going to span so many decades.”
The series opens with conversations that related to specific moments in history. “It put the focus on the voices and the conversational tone, and that put into focus the voices and the idea that this was going to be an open conversation,” Harrison says.
Cabrera explains that it was interesting editing and revisiting shows like “That’s So Raven” as an adult, compared to watching the shows when they originally aired. He says was struck by Symone, who talks about knowing she was gay from a young age and being afraid to come out after seeing the backlash Ellen DeGeneres faced. “Her interview was so raw and honest. I was struck by how captivating she was. Seeing that in a new light was incredibly impactful for me.”
Harrison said editing the show was not about nostalgia, but about gaining perspective. “It was not so much remembering my own experience, it was more about hearing perspectives that I didn’t grow up with.”